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Having inpatient surgery?

Download our Main Operating Room brochure.

Download pre-op instructions for inpatient surgery.

Where to go?

Your inpatient surgery will be in one of NCH's main operating rooms (Entrance 2). Click below for locations and parking.

View the campus map

At Northwest Community Hospital, our goal is to make your surgical experience as comfortable as possible. Patients usually have a better experience if they are well informed. So, in preparation for your inpatient surgery, please review this page as well as the FAQs.

If your child is having surgery, we want to do everything possible to put your child—and you—at ease. Learn more about pediatric surgery at NCH and how to prepare your child.

What you need to know about inpatient surgery at NCH

Prior to surgery, you will receive a thorough medical evaluation and will consult with a member of your surgical team. You will receive first-hand information on your procedure, what to expect and what to do afterward. Your surgeon's office will tell you where your surgery will take place.

Registering for your surgery

  • Unless you are a patient in the hospital already, a registration representative will call you prior to your surgery date for pre-registration. If necessary, you can contact the pre-registration department at 847.618.3775.
  • A registered nurse will call you to complete a health assessment and determine if a pre-admission visit is necessary based on your medical history.
  • Be sure to contact your insurance company prior to your procedure to verify whether pre-certification is needed for your procedure. Depending on your insurance plan, separate pre-certification may be required for your procedure, your doctor and your anesthesiologist.
  • The day before your surgery, call 847.618.7244 between 2 pm–7 pm to confirm your exact arrival time. Surgical times are subject to change.

Pre-admission testing

Unless you are a patient in the hospital already, you may need to make an appointment with the Pre-Admission Testing (PAT) department prior to your surgery. You will receive a phone call from an NCH representative to schedule your PAT appointment. (This is separate from any appointment you may need to make with your primary care physician, surgeon or specialist prior to your procedure.) Please bring the following, if applicable:

  • Your insurance cards
  • Pre-certification number from your health plan
  • Copayment
  • All of the current medications you are taking in their original bottles—this includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbal supplements and vitamins
  • A list of your allergies

At PAT, they will ensure that you are healthy enough to safely receive anesthesia. Be sure to tell the nurse or physician about any medications you are taking, and any allergies or past adverse reactions to medications or anesthesia. You will meet with an anesthesiologist and nurse to discuss your health history and any previous procedures that included anesthesia.You may also need to have the following taken:

  • Blood test
  • Urinalysis
  • EKG
  • Blood pressure
  • Chest X-ray

If you have questions about pre-admission testing, please call 847.618.7250 or read our pre-admission testing FAQs.

Advance directives

Advance medical directives are a legally recognized means for communicating your healthcare wishes if you are too sick to make decisions. These pre-surgical decisions should be considered and discussed with your family members prior to any surgery.

  • Healthcare power of attorney (POA)—A legal document that names another person of your choice who can make medical decisions on your behalf.
  • Living will—A legal document that states you do not want life-prolonging medical care in the event that you become terminally ill and unable to make decisions.
  • Hospital chaplains—Available 24/7 to reach across faith group boundaries to help you make these important decisions.

Day of surgery

Below are some guidelines for preparing for surgery:

  • Bathe prior to surgery. Leave off all makeup, colognes/perfumes, contact lenses, nail polish and jewelry, including body piercing. Wear loose, comfortable clothes.
  • If you are having anesthesia, inform the pre-admission nurse or anesthesiologist if you have any loose teeth or dentures. Dentures might have to be removed before surgery.
  • Beginning at midnight prior to surgery: Take nothing by mouth, including water, mints or gum (unless otherwise instructed). Also, smoking is not recommended before surgery, as it can affect your oxygen level during surgery.
  • Do not consume any alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours before or after your surgery.
  • Leave valuables at home, except insurance cards/photo I.D. and payment (if instructed).
  • Check with your physician regarding use of any medications (including aspirin products—Advil, Aleve, dietary/herbal supplements).
  • Read all materials provided.

Where to go on the day of surgery

For surgery at the main operating room (inpatient or outpatient)—please enter the North Pavilion through Entrance 2, and proceed to the reception desk on the second floor via the north elevators. View the campus map.

On the date of surgery, it is important that you arrive at the time you were asked to arrive—it could be one and a half hours or more before your scheduled surgery to allow time to prepare. We ask that your time is flexible. You may be called to come in early or be notified of a delay.

Parking and transportation

For surgery in the main OR, free valet parking is available between 6 am–6 pm at Entrance 2 of the North Pavilion. There are canopied areas in front of Entrance 2 if you need to be dropped off while someone parks your car. You can park for free in the Busse Garage. View the campus map.

An NCH Courtesy Van is available Mon–Fri, 6:30 am–5:30 pm, if you are traveling to or from the hospital campus for medical reasons—call 847.618.6480. The fee is $5 cash and the boundaries are Route 22 to the north, Cook/DuPage line to the south, Route 59 to the west and I-294 to the east.

What to bring with you on the day of surgery

  • Your insurance card
  • Your personal toiletries, pajamas, robe and slippers with backs and rubber soles
  • Any advance medical directives if you have prepared them
  • A pre-certification number from your health plan
  • Your copayment (Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card are accepted)
  • All of the current medications you are taking in their original bottles—this includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbal supplements and vitamins
  • A list of your allergies
  • Glasses case or contact lens case (if needed)
  • Any post-operative equipment if instructed by your surgeon (such as crutches, walker or orthopedic boot)

Pain management

At NCH, we are committed to helping prevent or control any post-surgical pain. Your doctor or nurse will work with you to develop a pain management plan. Please ask us for pain relief when any pain first begins.

  • Your doctor may decide to give you a single shot of pain medication before surgery next to the nerve close to your surgical area. This is called a single-shot peripheral nerve block (PNB). This medication will numb the nerve and block the pain.
  • For other procedures, your doctor may request that a continuous peripheral nerve block (CPNB) be placed before surgery to help manage pain that you may have after surgery. A catheter is placed under your skin next to the nerve by your surgical area. After surgery, the catheter is connected to a pump filled with a numbing medication. You will be able to adjust the pump to deliver more medication for extra pain relief when needed.
  • Local medication—Specialized pain medication is given to numb the surgical site area. Administered either by injection or through a catheter attached to a patient-controlled pump.
  • Epidural—A continuous flow of anesthetic is infused into the lower back through a catheter to numb the lower body.

After surgery

You will be taken into the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). You'll receive constant care from a post-anesthesia care nurse. While you're coming out of surgery, your doctor may call or visit your family or friends to let them know how you're doing.

As the anesthesia wears off, you'll wake up in the brightly lit PACU. Noises may seem louder than normal. You may have blurry vision, a dry mouth, chills or nausea. A nurse will check your dressing and blood pressure often. You may have an IV or other tubes used for drainage. Your surgery site may hurt or burn, so ask your nurse for pain medication if you need it.

Follow-up care

Depending upon the type of surgery, the PACU nurse or anesthesiologist will decide when you can be moved from the PACU. It's usually one to two hours after surgery. You will be taken to your hospital room, where you'll stay for at least one night. Your family and friends may see you the same day as your surgery.

Going home

When the time comes for you to return home for further recuperation, you and your family member will be given written instructions prior to sending you home. Most patients are sent home with prescriptions that need to be filled. You may want to discuss the option of pre-filling your prescriptions with your doctor.

  • Be sure to have an adult friend or family member drive you home.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and rest at home. It is a good idea to have the following foods on hand: clear liquids, soup, crackers, toast, gelatin and juice.
  • We will call you after your surgery to see how you are doing.
  • You should not drive a car for 24 hours after receiving anesthesia or sedation.
  • Do not consume alcohol for 24 hours after surgery or drive while taking pain medications that make you drowsy.

Home care

Depending upon the type of surgery you have, you may require home health care for a few days or weeks. Northwest Community Hospital has been a leader in providing outstanding home health care services since 1969. We provide one-on-one home care with 24-hour patient access to registered nurses and regular physician updates. Most patients are referred through their physicians; however you may request services directly if you have difficulty leaving your home and require intermittent and skilled health care. For more information, call 847.618.7800 or visit our Home Care section.

Physical therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical rehabilitation therapy. For more information, call 847.618.3550 or visit our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation section. A physician's order is required to schedule an appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 847.618.3700.

For a physician referral, please call HealthConnectionat 847.618.4YOU (4968), or view our list of Northwest Community Hospital surgeons.

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Last Updated 2013/03/13